SHS poets to be published

September 22, 2008 — by Pia Mishra, Lauren Kuan

Last spring, students from Judith Sutton’s Creative Writing: Poetry 2 class put on a presentation at the Saratoga Library portraying the bombings on Mutanabi Street in Iraq. The bombings had taken place in March 2007 and devastated the entire city of Baghdad. The street had originally been a lively market where ideas, books and thoughts were exchanged freely.

The students wanted to spread the knowledge of the impact of the attack. The reading left the audience with a call to action. What could they do to help? Their answer was a small press publisher by the name of Studio 1801.

Mike Day, a publisher who teaches a printing class as well, had attended the Mutanabi Presentation. He was extremely impressed by the students’ work. He passed out the 27 poems to his publishing class and asked them if they were interested in working with the poems. It was a unanimous decision; these were excellent pieces that deserved to be published. Later, when Day revealed that high school students wrote the poems, the class was dumbfounded.

“If he had done it the other way and said at the beginning that it was high school poetry, the class may have written it off,” said Sutton. “They thought that no high school could write poetry at the level that they would be interested in publishing.”

The publishing company, in association with Foothill College, agreed to help the cause by publishing all the poems presented by the students earlier into one book. The book is to be printed through letterpress printing, which engraves the poems into a hard surface. It’s a difficult process that is often used for professional prose and is a huge honor for the students.

The students have yet to finalize the name of the book but have been tossing around a few ideas. The publishing date is currently scheduled for late November.

The books will be sold to SHS students in order to raise funds for a man who was injured during the Mutanabi bombings.

In additioin to this upcoming book, two of the 27 poems have been selected to be put in a national anthology of poetry. The book Mutanabi Street Starts Here features many famous American poets including Adrienne Rich. The two SHS poets featured in the anthology are Dilara Cirit and Niamh McGinley, both 2008 graduates.

Both Cirit and McGinley found their passion for poetry in their early years. They have both won multiple awards and have had their poems published all over the nation. Sutton hopes the book will have as much of an impact as the presentation did.

“Mutanabi Street Starts Here is more than a title,” said Sutton. “Mutanabi Street started here in the books and in its writing. When the street was attacked, it impacted more than the people. It impacted the civilization.”

1 view this week